Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Review

XMI Import and Export allows for rapid extraction of model fragment to support reusable assets.

Valuable Features

Outside of the diagram and project repository at an affordable prices the actual features included UML and re-engineering to build up documentation on existing code bases and databases for my clients. Later it became the ability to customize and support client and industry frameworks – the tools coverage. Now it is being able to support Enterprise level Architecture across all the domains from business to technology.

XMI Import and Export – allows for rapid extraction of model fragment to support reusable assets and model element transfer to other tools & platforms.

Improvements to My Organization

Using the products scripting and namespace management has allowed for the expression of business models (level 1 - 4) for a government agency that provided a ‘tipping point’ for enterprise architecture acceptance. The span of coverage and consistent traceability for view point presentation allows client teams access to continually maintained building block catalogues and alignment with the business models.

Room for Improvement

More control over diagram layout and stylization and the use of layout templates to allow for consistent model view presentation to consumers. This would include improved control of generated HTML views and SVG products and enhanced shape management.

Tagged value and stereotype management – these two UML features offer a lot of control and flexibility over model element treatment and provide benefit to power users.

Needs support for Executive level diagramming for rolling up details back to concept.

Use of Solution

We've been using it since 2001.

Deployment Issues

We had no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues

The only stability concern I encountered was it not recognising that my laptop has limited resources especially as diagram complexity increases.

Scalability Issues

We have had no issues scaling it for our needs.

Customer Service and Technical Support

My personal experience is that Enterprise Architect has a large user community that shares well. As well the direct line support from Sparx Systems is consistent; product knowledgeable; seems to be acceptably responsive and works to resolve the identified issue.

Previous Solutions

I have used many computer assisted software engineering a model driven architecture tools including some I developed for military application. The list includes Excellator, Uniface, Power Designer, Oracle Designer, Rational Rose, and Software through Pictures, System Architect, Protégé, Microsoft Visio, Eclipse, Visual Studio, and Oxygen.

I use this because of it's low cost per seat, ease of use, MOF/UML based namespace control, high level of standardized notational support, and portability.

Initial Setup

Very straightforward – download executable, select repository type, apply the license, and go to work.

Implementation Team

Implementation is straight-forward but if this is for a group or large community then having an experienced database administrator and support resources in stewardship roles definitely help. Implementation of product like Sparx Enterprise Architect into Enterprise level Architecture practises usually warrants the establishment of principles practises and procedures to provide governance and support expected results. Tools are only what you make of them.


My ROI was well within the acceptable range for a small engineering firm.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Initially we were able to deploy to 15 end users for less than $5,000. Use of floating licensing provides for acceptable coverage at a lower per user cost.

Other Advice

If you are looking for something to just get the job done that does not box you in, then this product is for you, if you are looking for something more, this product grows with you and can address your incremental needs. If you are looking for a rapid implementation repository for projects that can contribute to an overall enterprise approach I think this product greatly helps with the caveat that it is the basis of a buy and build up approach. Lots of add on lend to the enterprise solution.

The above diagram was the basis as a context for architectural capability for a recent client it covers areas that have been implemented around a Sparx based tool set.

The diagram above demonstrates the product’s ability to support Governments of Canada Strategic Reference Model (GSRM) Services Integration and Accountability Model (SIAM) resulting from GRSM Service Pattern Analysis.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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